Understanding Object Test Questions

And How to Study for Them

True or False
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Most students find some types of questions are easier or more challenging than other types. Sometimes the difficulty you face with certain questions depends on the type—whether the question is an objective or subjective type.

What Is an Objective Test Question?

Objective test questions are those that require a specific answer. An objective question usually has only one potential correct answer (there may be some room for answers that are close), and they leave no room for opinion.

Objective test questions may be constructed so that they contain a list of possible answers so that the student will be expected to recognize the correct one. Those questions include:

  • matching
  • true and false questions

Other objective test questions may require that the student recall the correct answer from memory. One example would be fill-in-the-blank questions. Students must remember the correct, specific answer for each question.

What Questions Are Not Objective?

At first, it may be tempting to think that all test questions are objective, but they are not.

If you think about it, essay questions can have many potential correct responses; in fact, something would be very wrong if all students came up with the very same response!

Short answer questions are like essay questions: the answers may change from student to student, yet all students could be correct. This type of question—the type that calls for opinion and explanation—is subjective.

How to Study

Questions that require short, specific answers require memorization. Flashcards are helpful for memorization, but they must be used correctly.

But students must not stop with memorizing terms and definitions! Memorization is only the first step. As a student, you must gain a deeper understanding of each term or concept in order to understand why some potential multiple choice answers are incorrect.

For example, you may find it necessary to memorize the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation because it is a vocabulary term for your history class. However, it is not enough to know what the proclamation did accomplish. You must also consider what this executive order did not do!

In this example, it is important to know that this proclamation was not a law, and understand that its impact was limited. Likewise, you should always know what wrong answers could be presented to test your understanding of any vocabulary word or new concept.

Because you should go beyond memorizing answers for your test terms, you should team up with a study partner and create your own multiple choice practice test. Each of you should write out one right and several wrong answers. Then you should discuss why each potential answer is correct or incorrect.

Ideally, you have studied hard and know all the answers! Realistically, there will be some questions that are a little tricky. Sometimes a multiple choice question will have two answers that you can’t quite decide between. Don’t be afraid to skip these questions and answer the ones you feel most confident about first. That way you know what questions you need to spend a little more time on. The same goes for matching style tests. Eliminate all the options you feel confident with, mark out the answers you use, and that will make the remaining answers a little more easy to identify.